Hearing and Obeying as the Way of Life with Jesus

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Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:22

Hearing and obeying for a follower of Jesus is not something that is simply encouraged, but a way of life that Jesus calls us to. We cannot hear and not obey. Similarly, we cannot obey without hearing from God. The two are interconnected and foundational to the building and advancement of his Kingdom, that’s why Mission Central has chosen “Hearing and Obeying” as our theme for the year.

Stories of obedience and listening to the word of God appear all throughout scripture with each encounter pointing to God’s faithfulness when we commit to trusting what God says and obeying Him.

An example of faithful hearing and obedience can be seen through the life of Abraham. Abraham’s obedience was countercultural to what the world defines obedience to be. If Abraham was alive today, his obedience would raise eyebrows and be viewed as strangely different. Without any context, Abraham picked up all his belongings and with his family left his home and people and went into the unknown. He didn’t know where he would end up or why. Abraham just heard from God and followed. Even in the face of sacrificing his one and only son, a son promised to him after years of waiting, Abraham never questioned God’s intentions. Abraham had faith in God and he knew that all he had to do was hear and obey. It is this very obedience that would pave way for generations to come because Abraham was willing to trust God with the unfamiliar and follow Him. His simple acts of productive obedience was the seed of a nation and today, through Christ, has brought glory to God throughout the nations.

In the story of Samuel, another similar act of hearing and obeying is represented. Samuel spent his whole life in obedience to God, from not completely hearing the Lord at first to staying intimate with Him and listening, even in times that he didn’t understand. When Samuel went to anoint God’s choice for king, he expected that tall and good-looking Eliab would be the obvious choice. However, God told Samuel that He did not care for the outward appearance and rather looked at the heart. So, when God chose the youngest, the smallest, the least experienced, David, Samuel obediently anointed him. While Samuel didn’t understand, he led by faith and not sight. By expectantly listening for God’s voice and obeying, Samuel established David as king, a man after God’s heart.

Throughout both Abraham and Samuel’s lives and many others, God reveals to us that on the other side of our obedience are His promises for us. God is a promise-keeping, loving, faithful, gracious God.

As we pray into the Mission Central Conference for next year, we will be starting a monthly devotional focused on hearing and obeying and how that ties into God’s purpose for our lives and our mission as followers of Jesus. Please sign up for our News and Updates to get emails with the latest devotionals.

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About the author

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In 1997 John Hall, his wife Wei, and brother in-law started Eco Outdoor Sports in Metro Vancouver. In 2003 the business was sold, and his family entered a seven-year ‘desert experience’. During that time the Lord impressed on John and his family the importance of hearing and obeying Jesus every day, something that he tries to integrate into everything he does. In 2010 God changed the family’s direction and led him to finish his degree at Regent College in preparation for life as a full-time missionary overseas. That ministry opportunity didn’t develop as planned, as a whole new perspective and participation-in Christ’s mission was born at Missions Fest Vancouver. It’s now a daily occurrence for John’s business background and theological training to get a workout.

John served as the Executive Director at Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) from 2014 to April 2023.

John and Wei live in Richmond, BC. They have two wonderful adult girls. John completed his MA at Regent College in 2010.

The Tapestry Church (Richmond, BC)

Series: Hearing and Obeying—Devotionals

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